Fabric of my Life.

Life in the folds.

French design brand Ligne Roset celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Togo chair this summer. 

Characterised by its distinct curvature and sunken profile, the structureless Togo sofa has a crumbled silhouette reminiscent of a tube of toothpaste folded back on itself, and emphatically captures my love for relaxed yet refined interior decor. Designed by Michel Ducaroy, in the same year the Ligne Roset brand launched, the modular sofa can be reconfigured in a variety of ways and has sold over 1.5 million pieces since it was launched at the Salon des Arts Ménagers in Paris in 1973. Which is not surprising, given the number of Togo sofas you see popping up all over Instagram on a daily basis, having become an influencer favourite during the height of lockdown living. 


Togo was revolutionary at its launch since it resembled changes in society and changing social behaviors in the ’70s—the breakout of free spirits and questions against the status quo,” says Simone Vingerhoets-Ziesmann, executive vice president of Ligne Roset Americas. “During a time when furniture was formal and conservative Togo was a revolution, a symbol for people to enjoy ultimate comfort and design without any formalities and social requirements.


A ‘beanbag for adults’ if you will, during 2020 the Togo perfectly captured the zeitgeist for curling up on your sofa and ignoring the chaotic world of the pandemic swirling beyond your front door. It spoke of comfort and ease and cosiness, in a manner that was still stylish and full of character. I personally love the fact the Togo is available in so many different fabrics and colours, to appease both the maximalist or the minimalist décor lover. 

1987 — Artistic direction by François Bénard, photography by Alain Dovifat.
1974 — Roux-Séguéla Agency.

I've been seeing them everywhere. At my friends’ places, at my friends’ parents’ places. They come in all sorts of colour, even with flowers. They strike poses in magazines, on billboards in the subway, at the movies, on social networks… What’s with all this passion for Togo sofas?

To celebrate the 50th anniversary, Ligne Roset has recently launched a podcast, Looking for Togo, in collaboration with documentary journalist Aurélie Sfez.


I was really looking forward to gaining some creative and intellectual insight from the podcast but I’ll save you all the bother and let you know that it turned out to be one of the most excruciating podcasts I’ve ever tried to listen to; all unedited background noise and over-enunciated translation voice overs that really jar with the relaxed, nonchalant vibes that I personally associate with the sofa.


I wanted a cosy conversational style podcast with probing questions and amusing anecdotes (à la Garance Doré’s Pardon my French), but I really struggled to get along with the format that felt like the audio track for a documentary video series, which is, of course, Sfez’s background. I really hope they have video footage from all the interviews that they will be able to splice together and share one day —that feels like it would have been a much better format for this series. 


But, nonetheless, I persevered.

Mi Hotel Suites, Lyon, France

In the first episode, Sfez interviews (briefly) lifestyle influencer Marion Gruber, Dominique Forest, Chief Curator of Modern & Contemporary at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, and Jacques Séguéla, former Chief Creative Officer at advertising agency, Havas SA.


I say ‘briefly’, because the snippets of dialogue you hear from them seem perfunctory at best, particularly Gruber and Forest, adding little to the understanding or appreciation of the Togo as a design classic and its place within society as a whole.


Séguéla, who worked on the original advertising of the Togo in 1974, has a little more to say on the matter:

The Togo was a trendsetter for flexibility, for comfort, for cool and camaraderie. You're at ground level, but you have high hopes. It's the creation of a universe where people can meet and exchange ideas. Togo is a social icebreaker because everyone is the same.

What’s the only way to create eternity for a brand?” ponders Séguéla. “Give it a soul. This couch has a soul. It represents young people’s new way of life.” Which I think captures perfectly my own love for the Togo; as a sofa that is representative of my own desire for a laidback —yet creatively charged— way of life, and tapping into my love of a Scandifornian style of décor.
So, it seemed fitting that episode 2 of the Looking for Togo podcast took us straight to California, to meet set decorator Nancy McIlvaney; Melissa Volpert, former Director of Sales and Marketing at the Standard, Hollywood; and fashion consultant Alyssa Coscarelli. Now at this point I feel they have to have a video edit of this podcast stashed away, because Sfez introduces a clip from Spiderhead saying, ‘let’s watch this scene,’ before the audio from the movie plays. As it’s not a film I’ve seen, I found it difficult to understand the visual impact of the sofa in the scene though listening to the audio clip alone! 

[It was] like a giant playroom; a playroom for adults, because everyone hung out here - all of Hollywood - the young Hollywood of the early 2000s. Everyone hung out in this lobby, on the Togos. The idea was it was this gathering place where everyone just hung out and, because the seats were so hard to get out of, people stayed there for hours. A lot of very famous people sat on those Togos."

Sfez’s meeting with Melissa Volpert didn’t disappoint though. As one of the most iconic venues in Hollywood, the former Standard hotel remains synonymous with the Togos that littered its cavernous lobby. Volpert has a feeling that the Standard inspired a lot of the Togos that now sit in living rooms around the world, as guests wanted to recreate that sense of cosiness in their own homes.


I can certainly believe that too; my own initial exposure to the Togo came from seeing glossy magazine spreads of the hotel’s famous lobby —alongside Sex and the City’s two iconic Los Angeles episodes, which were filmed in the hotel, of course! 

The Standard, Hollywood, CA.

Limited editions, 2023

For its 50th anniversary, Ligne Roset have dressed the Togo up in two limited-edition coverings: Atom by Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons for Kvadrat, and La Toile du Peintre by Pierre Frey.


Available in a limited edition of 878 copies worldwide, the Atom fabric is available in 3 colourways: Bouleau, Labradorite and Confettis. A vibrant and experimental bouclé fabric with no visible repeat, it has been inspired by fragments of pointillist landscapes in expressionist paintings, featuring speckles of colour that seem randomly scattered across its surface. 

With La Toile du Peintre by Pierre Frey, Togo is adorned with a contemporary tapestry with a large graphic pattern and vibrant colours that reinterprets a work by painter Heather Chontos. Its scale, alongside its joyful and free stroke, make this fabric an ode to artistic expression that certainly brings a smile to your face, no matter your design sensibilities. 


What are your feelings about Ligne Roset’s Togo chair? Do you covet one for your home? 


→The first two episodes of Looking for Togo are available to stream on every podcast platform (with more to come).

Listen here

All photography © Ligne Roset, used with permission. 

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